Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Go Preach To The Choir

iWarning: This is a major rant. If you are sensitive to religion, God, atheists, etc, stop reading now. 

Friday, August 24, 2001: A beautiful afternoon to venture out to Coney Island and eat cold borscht on the Brighton Beach boardwalk. We get on the B train. It is quiet, almost empty and very pleasant.
All of a sudden, a young black man starts preaching at the top of his lungs, even though there are only about 10 people in the car. He hollers about how Jesus saved him, and how we all need to follow Jesus, and every two words it's Jesus this and Jesus that. We are with our dog Petra and we're not about to try to change cars in the middle of the Manhattan Bridge, which is the strategic location where this young man chooses to assault us and take us hostage with his extremely loud spiel.
Imagine that I get on a subway car, and in the loudest voice possible, perhaps even with a sound system to back me up, I start screaming at the top of my lungs that God doesn't exist, and that belief in Him has brought humanity extreme cruelty, human imbecility and suffering, etc. I bet a lot of people wouldn't like it. I bet someone may find this really offensive and tell me to shut up. In olden days, much milder stuff would get you burned at the stake. But when it comes to God and religion, even today, we are all hostages, because nobody has the guts to find this religious blather the most aggressive, obnoxious, offensive, insulting form of imposition. People are afraid to speak up against it, because they know it's a lost battle. It's reason versus obsession. You can't engage, because you will never be right. They also live under the misguided notion that somehow God is off limits. God freaks can attack us mercilessly with their certainties but we can't even ask them politely to zip it. It's a taboo to be against God, and by extension the morons who claim to be His messengers.
God freaks, by the way, are so demonically insane that they are willing to change the definition of female rape ("legitimate", "forcible") in order to outlaw abortion. This is the grossest, vilest form of human perversion. But someone screaming about God in your ear? You have to grin and bear it.
What about Jews? Buddhists? Members of the Church of Elvis? Why do they need to listen to this Jesus crap? It's offensive to anyone who happens to believe in something other than Jesus.
I have no doubt that this enraptured young man may be an effective preacher one day. That is, if he actually finds something interesting to say. Demanding that we must all follow Jesus just because he did does not cut the mustard. It is fucking annoying, and it sounds like a broken record. I once went to the Abyssinian Church in Harlem and heard a smart, compelling preacher. I did not agree with everything he said, but he was thrilling. He had interesting stuff to say. If you are going to force me to listen to this bullshit, at least have the courtesy to make it worth my while. Otherwise, shut the fuck up. I don't want to hear it. Freedom of religion doesn't mean you have the right to force me to listen to your bullshit. The subway is not the place to preach. That's what church is for.

The clown from Hell 
We had a wonderful time by the beautiful sea. We got on the D train at dusk. Again, a few people, tired from a day of sun and noise on Coney Island. A dude half dressed like a clown stands in the middle of the car and starts bleating grotesquely and shaking a pair of very loud maracas. He is appalling. He is the exact opposite of funny; a black hole of pathetic, insane cluelessness. He is so bad, he is scary. He bleats like a tortured animal, screeching "I love you" and shaking the maracas in our faces. Even Petra, who is an expert subway traveller, is rattled by this idiot. A French family of three gapes at him like he is the Antichrist, their teenage son beseeching them in French to move to another car*. But nobody says anything. Understandably, since he may be deranged. We gesture to him gently to tone it down, but he keeps screaming.

Appalled French Family
But then comes the clincher. Turns out he's a Christian, and God and Jesus and all that fucking unholy crap from utter HELL. Of course he is a Christian: he knows that's how he gets away with murder. One could call the police on him and get him busted for being a public nuisance. And that's what I should have done. Call 311. But they might give him a pass. Why? 'Cause he's a Christian.
A young black woman eggs him on, obviously making fun of him. He latches on to her, but it turns ugly the minute he finds out that she thinks he's crazy, not funny. He starts hurling abuse at her. The Christian clown that one second ago was boasting that he never curses and he just wants to "entertain and give joy", has a mouth like a sewer, even in the presence of young, scared children. And still, the parents keep quiet. He and the girl start having a ferocious argument. He mentions the word "Christian" once again and that's where I lose it. I scream at them both to shut up. I ask him to please pipe down. We want quiet, I demand. This fat moron comes right at me, and starts insulting me. I tell him what he is doing is aggressive. The crazy black girl actually stands on her seat and looks like she is about to jump on him. Finally he gets off the train, still complaining loudly that he's a Christian. Like he can't believe that we are all evil for not letting him assault us with his deranged screaming.
This is New York. The reason why people do shit like this on subways is because they know we are all afraid to engage with them and put them in their place. I can ignore and tolerate all kinds of annoyances, but religious people trying to impose their beliefs on me, that makes me righteous angry, regardless of faith. Using Jesus as an excuse to pester people is even worse.
I don't go around trying to convert people to atheism. Your faith is your own damn business and you have no right to hoist it up on me in a public place, unless it is a temple and I'm walking through its doors of my own accord. Goddammit.

*Moving to another car is pointless. They may follow suit.


  1. A gorgeous rant made all the more hilarious by the accompanying display ad for a Joel Osteen book. Thank you, big enchilada.

  2. grandenchilada4:58 PM

    Thank you, dear. You gotta love the wisdom of google ads.

  3. Cynthia8:12 PM

    Completely agree with u. Great rant btw.

  4. Bravo! So glad you're saying what I've been thinking for so long...